May, 2007 Results

An End to the Website Versus Blogs Debate

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Ah… the blogs versus website debate, where would we be without it?

The problem is, unlike other “this versus that” issues, this isn’t an apples and oranges debate at all, it is more like a Granny Smith’s versus … some other variety of apple. Um, red apples versus green apples? …

A website can have the attributes of a blog and a blog can do anything a website can. Why? Because they are both websites.

I use WordPress as a content management system; I have also added RSS to a traditional website before. It’s not always easy that way round, but doable.

Blogs do not even have to look like blogs, they can work however you want them to. Many people object to blogs because of “that front page with all the articles on it” or “I don’t like the archive based navigation” yada yada.

People who say “blogs must”, or “blogs can’t” or “blogs always” are probably overwhelmed with information and don’t want you to take their security blanket away.

Blogs can look or work however you want them to. It’s just a content management system and if you choose the right software, for example WordPress, then the only limitation is tweaking time.

If you think this is really about whether you should have a traditional website or a blog, that would be like asking “should my marketing only use one tactic” and my answer will always be a big fat sweaty NO.

I worked in the past with huge companies who only wanted to use one tactic. “Direct marketing will damage our brand”, “we are a premium brand, we don’t do radio *spit*”, “websites? websites? are you MAD, didn’t you know these products ONLY sell via point of sale/sales promotion/sampling/yada”. And yet every single time they allowed us to test an integrated multi-tactic strategy, sales improved.

You have to choose the tactics you believe you can make work and use them in unison.

Use both: use a blog for attraction and stickiness and use a traditional website for conversion.

… or put another way, articles and sales pages

OK, blogs can have community – how about forums versus blogs?

Again they are both websites, it is possible to hack up a blog so it works like a forum (I wouldn’t, but you can). They are two different types of venue really.

In a blog it is “I think this, what do you think?”, where as in forums it is question/answer. You generally have little control over the direction the conversations take (which is a good thing) in a forum.

So again, why not have both? When you need to control the agenda, you direct the conversation more in blogs. If you want spontaneous conversation go with forums. Think of a forum as friends talking whereas with a blog it can be more like a friendly salesman directing the conversation towards purchase.

Next time someone asks you “blogs versus websites”, just say “no, articles AND sales pages” and tell them Chris told you to say it. 😉

Chris Garrett is a professional blogger and online media consultant. His eBook, “Killer Flagship Content” should be required reading for all bloggers.

Random Bits Podcast with Dan McComb

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Random Bits

Episode 2 – 5/14/2007

Guest: Dan McComb, Co-Founder of

Background: developer, entrepreneur, indie professional

Total Time: 20 minutes

Rand Fishkin is a hard follow-up for an interview, but Dan McComb, was definitely a great choice!

bizJam Dan shares his experience from starting out as a developer with a great idea to how he made that idea a reality. That is something a lot of us developers want to do!

If you don’t know Dan, you soon will. Dan is the co-founder of, a site that offers “Business Networking that Doesn’t Suck”. is growing rapidly from a local Seattle group to a global community and it’s definitely getting noticed. Biznik is hosting Seattle’s first indie business conference, BizJam on June 9, 2007. If you’re in the Seattle area, definitely check it out.

Podcast Highlights

  • 00:26 – Dan McComb talks about his vision of an Indie Professional
  • 1:45 – Dan tells us what makes different than other networking sites and organizations
  • 6:57 – Dan tells us about going from a local community to a global community
  • 9:57 – Sara asks Dan how as a developer, he took his idea, and made it a reality
  • 10:49 – Dan discusses bootstrapping vs. venture capital and growing organically
  • 13:37 – Sara asks about Bizjam
  • 17:25 – Sara gets personal with Dan

Play the podcast right now! Notice the Random Bits podcast on the right? Just click the Dan McComb link and it will start playing. It might take a few seconds to stream-in…

Links for the Weekend, 5-12-2007

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Title Tags – A Search Engine Optimization Cornerstone

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

“What’s in a name?” – Well hopefully your keywords, that’s what!

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in blogging (or on any website for that matter) is to not fully utilize your title tags. The title tag has been and will continue to be one of the most important elements in search engine rankings. Title tags are the over-arching descriptor for the page; they communicate with the search engines telling them what each page is about.

So then why is it that so many websites fail to optimize their title tags?


Where’s My Margin Gone? (or why 1+1=1)

Monday, May 7th, 2007

Collapsing Margins

When you work with CSS it won’t be long before you run into margin issues and while we have covered the general issues in a previous article I would like now to talk a bit about collapsing margins. If you are not familiar with how vertical adjacent margins (including nested elements) are handled then I will quickly explain the basics and all will become clear.

The W3C specification defines them as follows:

8.3.1 Collapsing margins

“In this specification, the expression collapsing margins means that adjoining margins (no non-empty content, padding or border areas or clearance separate them) of two or more boxes (which may be next to one another or nested) combine to form a single margin.”

What this means in simple terms is that if you have two divs following each other in the normal flow and each div has a 20px margin all around, then the vertical gap between the two divs will still only be 20px due to collapsing margins. It will not be 40px as might be expected.

If the divs had different margins then only the greater margin would apply. (e.g. If one div has a 30px margin and one div has a 15px margin then the margin would be 30px because it is the greatest margin. You do not add them together and halve them or anything like that. It’s just the greater margin that will apply.)

Horizontal margins do not collapse in CSS 2.1 but vertical margins will collapse between certain elements and this can be easily demonstrated with a simple example.


Links for the Weekend, 5-5-2007

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Need Fresh Content for Your Blog?

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

At some point in time you may find yourself struggling to come up with fresh material to blog about. Where do you draw inspiration from when this happens?

This article will provide you with several solutions to help you come up with new content for your blog.


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